Rebeca Ramos

Securing reproductive rights

2 minute read

Rebeca Ramos was grateful but in disbelief last year when Mexico’s Supreme Court decriminalized abortion at the federal level. As executive director of GIRE, an abortion-rights group, Ramos led her organization in filing the injunction against the decades-old law that criminalized abortion, and she won. “It was a feeling of profound satisfaction,” she says. “It’s unbelievable that in the 21st century we’re still fighting for our liberty, to decide if we want to have a pregnancy … to continue a pregnancy or not is one of the most fundamental decisions that a person can make.”

The decision eliminated all federal criminal penalties for abortion, allowing people to seek abortions at federal hospitals and clinics–even if they live in a state that criminalizes abortion, as 20 of Mexico’s 32 states do. The ruling leaves those state and local laws in place, but also lifted bans on health care staff providing abortions at the federal health care facilities that now become a practical alternative.

Ramos credits Mexico’s success in part to a “Green Wave” movement that has swept Southern America; Argentina, Colombia, Guyana, and Uruguay have all moved to legalize or decriminalize abortion in recent years. GIRE is not yet done fighting for abortion in court. They have sued all 20 Mexican states where abortion is still considered a crime. While they wait for a verdict, GIRE is continuing to represent women facing jail time for getting an abortion, increasing access to abortion medication, and facilitating connections to doctors who perform abortions for the patients who need them.

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